Kerry to Visit Jordan 'Within Days'

Kerry is engaged in an intensive bout of shuttle diplomacy aimed at finding a way back to direct negotiations.

Arutz Sheva staff ,

John Kerry
John Kerry
AFP photo

US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Amman "within days," Jordan's top diplomat said on Sunday after talks with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmud Abbas that were focused on American peace efforts.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Ramallah, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said his talks with Abbas had focused on Kerry's intensive efforts to revive peace talks after a hiatus of nearly three years.

"As we know, there is a major effort by the Americans at this time to return to negotiations and my visit is part of this effort," he said at the news conference with his Palestinian Authority counterpart Riyad al-Malki.

"Kerry has been in Jordan three times already and he will be back for a fourth visit within days," Judeh said, without saying who Kerry would meet or whether he would also travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Judeh said he had relayed a letter from Jordan's King Abdullah to Abbas, without giving details.

Malki said the visit was to ensure "coordination" between Jordan and the Palestinian leadership. He did not elaborate, according to AFP.

Over the past four months, Kerry has been engaged in an intensive bout of shuttle diplomacy aimed at finding a way back to some form of direct negotiations. He last visited Jerusalem and Ramallah on May 23-24 for what was his fourth visit in just over two months.

On Thursday, he spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to express his concern over the advancement of Israeli construction in its national capital of Jerusalem.

Kerry phoned Abbas on Friday morning and again on Saturday, said PA officials.

"He calls the president almost on a daily basis, and he has held 11 meetings with us during the last two months," chief PA negotiator Saeb Erakat told Voice of Palestine radio, saying two of the calls had been in the last 24 hours.

Despite the intensive diplomacy, Kerry had not yet presented any diplomatic initiative and was pushing the Palestinian Authority to return to talks "without conditions."

"Until now, there is no initiative presented by Kerry," he said. "He is still in the phase of discussions with us and with the Israelis.

"He is also preparing to accuse us of the failure of the negotiations by asking us to return without conditions," he charged.

"When we talk about a settlement freeze or the release of prisoners, these are not Palestinian conditions, but Israeli obligations that it needs to fulfill if it really wants to resume the negotiations."

Meanwhile, Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni was to fly to Washington on Sunday to address the global forum of the American Jewish Committee.

Kerry is also scheduled to address the conference, with media reports saying the two were to hold fresh talks.